The smart phone fisticuffs between Research In Motion Ltd. and Apple Inc. heated up yesterday with the launch of the BlackBerry Bold. But while analysts say RIM has scored a direct hit with its first counterpunch to the iPhone, the company’s true haymaker has yet to be unveiled.
RIM’s BlackBerry Bold, which went on sale yesterday through Rogers Wireless Communications Inc., is the fastest device ever built by the Waterloo, Ont., company, but analysts say it’s not a device that is likely to have the same kind of consumer appeal as Apple’s touch-screen iPhone 3G. Rogers has also slapped a $399.99 price tag on the Bold, $100 higher than the most expensive iPhone.
Instead, the Bold reaffirms RIM as the heavyweight champion of business smart phones and sets the stage for an epic holiday season brawl for the consumer between the iPhone and RIM’s rumoured one-two punch consisting of the flip-phone Kickstart and a possible iPhone killer, the BlackBerry Thunder, both expected to be revealed this fall.
“The BlackBerry Bold continues RIM’s tradition of targeting the corporate user, but at a high-end price point with a three-year commitment, uptake may not be great even in enterprises, let alone the consumer market,” said Mark Tauschek, a senior research analyst with Info-Tech Research Group in London, Ont. “And RIM is late to the party with its BlackBerry Bold considering Apple’s iPhone has been available for over a month.”
Research In Motion
Unlike the Canadian launch of the iPhone in July, there were no lineups of expectant fans waiting outside Rogers Wireless stores to get their hands on RIM’s fastest BlackBerry yet when the device went on sale yesterday. Although Rogers confirmed it was doing in-store activations for the Bold yesterday, some customers went home disappointed amid reports that stores quickly sold out of their limited stock of devices.
RIM vice-president Patrick Spence shrugged off reports that some early Bold adopters were experiencing dropped calls and other network issues.
Similar complaints have been lodged against the iPhone. However, Rogers is confident its network can handle the stress of supporting the slew of next-generation devices it has launched this summer, including the Bold, the iPhone and the N-series devices from Nokia Corp., said Raj Doshi, Rogers Wireless vice-president, device and project management.
“We constantly invest in the network,” he said.